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Scand J Caring Sci. 1990;4(4):173-81.

Learning to cope and living with cancer. Learning-needs assessment in cancer patient education.


Giving of information to cancer patients and their family members regarding the disease, the treatment procedures and the adaptation process for living with the uncertainty inherent in a diagnosis of cancer, is as reported often not effective due to peoples' failure to understand. The impact of emotional stress creates communication difficulties. Information not based on assessed learning needs and considered individual differences as to learning militates against proper understanding. In developing an educational programme a study has been carried out aiming to assess learning needs. Cancer patients (n = 50), their family members (n = 20) and staff members within cancer care (n = 30) were asked to answer a need assessment questionnaire. The patients/family members indicated an extensive desire to learn about cancer and its ramifications, whereas staff members indicated that they seldom were approached regarding some questions in the area. The findings support the appropriateness for providing a structured patient education programme based on assessed needs and planned to meet individual differences in learning readiness and learning capabilities, that would complement the information currently given by staff members.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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